Nottingham Forest have been linked with the signing of Atalanta midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi, although it was his former Nerazzurri team-mate Remo Freuler who signed for the Reds earlier this week, becoming their 15th signing of the summer.
If Steve Cooper continues to push hard, he could also swoop for the Ukrainian, who was noted as one of Serie A’s best playmakers during the 2020/21 season.
The 29-year-old could come in and challenge Jesse Lingard, who at the moment shoulders much of the offensive burden at the City Ground.
More recently, reports have claimed that Forest could be set to lose out on the option to snag him completely, with Marseille and Tottenham Hotspur both jumping ahead of them in the race for his signature.
Meanwhile, Lingard managed just 354 minutes across 16 appearances as he struggled for game-time at Manchester United. He may need to shake off some rustiness from an inactive campaign, and signing Malinovskyi could have alleviated the need to throw the England international straight into the team in the early weeks of the season.
Ranking in the top 5% for progressive passes and the top 7% for shot-creating actions, he could instantly offer Forest another goal threat to worry opposition defenders if he comes to the City Ground, particularly with ex-player Tony Dorigo describing him as having a “cannon in his left boot“.
His creativity could certainly serve the likes of Brennan Johnson and Taiwo Awoniyi well, with 13 big chances created in Serie A last season despite only recording four assists. To be feeding the aforementioned Forest attackers, who netted 19 and 20 goals respectively in 2021/22, could see his goal contribution numbers rise as the players ahead of him make better use of the chances that he creates.
If Lingard could recapture the form of his loan spell at West Ham United, combining this creativity with his energy and eye for goal, it could have a devastating effect.
Nine goals and five assists in 16 appearances for the Irons during the 2020/21 season suggested that he was back to his best, and he could well recapture such form if he gets a regular run of games. The prospective addition of Malinovskyi could help to aid any such resurgence from the Englishman.
The interest in the Ukrainian may appear to have cooled, but Cooper should reignite it if he wants to truly get the best out of Lingard and add another exciting talent to his squad who could be integral to their Premier League survival bid.